\ ˈkrān How to pronounce crane (audio) \

Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 : any of a family (Gruidae of the order Gruiformes) of tall wading birds superficially resembling the herons but structurally more nearly related to the rails
2 : any of several herons
3 : an often horizontal projection swinging about a vertical axis: such as
a : a machine for raising, shifting, and lowering heavy weights by means of a projecting swinging arm or with the hoisting apparatus supported on an overhead track
b : an iron arm in a fireplace for supporting kettles
c : a boom for holding a motion-picture or television camera


craned; craning

Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : to raise or lift by or as if by a crane
2 : to stretch toward an object of attention craning her neck to get a better view

intransitive verb

1 : to stretch one's neck toward an object of attention I craned out of the window of my compartment— Webb Waldron
2 : hesitate


biographical name (1)
\ ˈkrān How to pronounce Crane (audio) \

Definition of Crane (Entry 3 of 5)

(Harold) Hart 1899–1932 American poet


biographical name (2)

Definition of Crane (Entry 4 of 5)

Stephen 1871–1900 American writer


biographical name (3)

Definition of Crane (Entry 5 of 5)

Walter 1845–1915 English artist

Illustration of crane

Illustration of crane


crane 1

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms & Antonyms for crane

Synonyms: Verb

boost, elevate, heave, heft, heighten, hike, hoist, jack (up), lift, perk (up), pick up, raise, take up, up, uphold, uplift, upraise

Antonyms: Verb

drop, lower

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Examples of crane in a Sentence


We craned our necks toward the stage. craned her head to see the roof

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On Tuesday, a crane lifted the beam, and their hopes, high into place. Anne Saker,, "Cancer center topped out as St. Elizabeth caps it with a steel beam of hope," 26 June 2019 His partner operated a crane, picking up larger loads and shoving them forcefully into the truck's haul that was now filled to the brim. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Weeks after storm, Dallas officials plow through tons of brush," 24 June 2019 Officials confirmed a large crane or heron flew into a nearby power line, sparking the blaze and creating a power outage in the area. Brody Fernandez, The Mercury News, "Bird into power lines sparks Northern California wildfire," 23 June 2019 But their love story was cut short when a high-wind thunderstorm sent a construction crane onto their apartment complex, killing 29-year-old Smith. Char Adams,, "Bride-to-Be Crushed to Death When Crane Falls Onto Apartment Just 3 Months Before Wedding Day," 20 June 2019 The bridge, which spans the Mississippi River, was closed indefinitely in October after a barge carrying a crane struck a section of its southwest portion. Hanna Krueger,, "Sunshine Bridge closed the both directions after tugboat crash," 16 June 2019 When the sphinx reached Philadelphia, the block was too heavy to unload on the docks, so the ship moved upriver to Port Richmond where a crane unloaded it onto a railcar at the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company cargo terminal. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Penn Museum Just Floated a 12-Ton Sphinx Out a Window," 13 June 2019 The Go Searcher tracks them down, and comes equipped with a crane to get the capsule out of the water. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX Built a Helicopter-Ready Rescue Ship in Case Something Goes Wrong When Astronauts Return to Earth," 6 Nov. 2018 During an ideal mission, Go Searcher will lift the Crew Dragon out of the water with a crane, attached to the end of the boat, according to NASA. Loren Grush, The Verge, "SpaceX’s helipad-equipped boat will bring astronauts safely home," 5 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The words stopped and Andrew Struck and I craned our necks to watch the aerial display. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Our national symbol is a soaring conservation success story," 3 July 2019 But on Saturday, there was no need for Leary or his boys to crane their necks or squint their eyes. Talia Richman,, "'Look how close he is!' Maryland Zoo celebrates opening of revamped African Journey exhibits," 22 June 2019 The boys shone a flashlight on cave walls to find where water was dripping, then took turns collecting it in their hands or craning their necks to drink. Warangkana Chomchuen, WSJ, "Thai Boys Moved From Dark to Light, Physically and Mentally, After Being Trapped in Cave," 18 July 2018 Trumpeter Rex Stewart is the only musician with his instrument tucked under his arm, and Gerry Mulligan craned his neck to be seen. Marc Myers, WSJ, "A Great Day in Harlem, Revisited," 2 Nov. 2018 To find a room’s blind spots, stand in the doorway that leads into the room and notice which parts of the room are harder to see from the doorway without craning your neck. Katie Jackson, Fox News, "10 free tips interior designers charge a lot for," 24 May 2016 There was Ovechkin, eyes shut and neck craned skyward, reacting as the Capitals finally advanced past the second round last month. Alex Prewitt,, "Alex Ovechkin 'Possessed' in High-Energy Game 3 Performance," 3 June 2018 At certain hours, children craned their necks up at the astronomical clock tower in the main square to see sculptures of the three magi emerging on a carousel. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "This Italian Town Once Welcomed Migrants. Now, It’s a Symbol for Right-Wing Politics," 7 July 2018 The player craned his neck around the top of the Cup and smiled. Rick Maese,, "Capitals' T.J. Oshie holds back tears as he shared the Stanley Cup with his dad," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crane.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crane


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1570, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for crane


Middle English cran, from Old English; akin to Old High German krano crane, Greek geranos, Latin grus

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Dictionary Entries near crane







crane fly

Statistics for crane

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crane

The first known use of crane was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for crane



English Language Learners Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a big machine with a long arm that is used by builders for lifting and moving heavy things
: a type of tall bird that has a long neck and long legs and lives near water



English Language Learners Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stretch out (your neck) in order to see better


\ ˈkrān How to pronounce crane (audio) \

Kids Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large tall wading bird with a long neck, bill, and legs
2 : a machine with a swinging arm for lifting and carrying heavy weights


craned; craning

Kids Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stretch the neck to see better Neighbors craned out the window to see the parade.

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More from Merriam-Webster on crane

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crane

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crane

Spanish Central: Translation of crane

Nglish: Translation of crane for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crane for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about crane

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